Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Comments by rasselas.redux

Showing 100 of 583 comments. Show all.

  • Frank Blankenship wrote: “Carl Gustav Jung, if you’ve seen the movie A Dangerous Method (2011) is known for having had a relationship with one of his patients, or former patients, and a future psychoanalyst herself, Sabina Spielrein, but perhaps it was actually after the professional relationship had dissolved that the intimate one began.”

    Nope. Jung commenced the spanky hanky-panky with Ms Spielrein while undertaking his experimental version of Freud’s techniques. We know this because he revealed to Freud in private correspondence what was going on and Freud was furious, this adding further to their inevitable parting of ways. Spielrein expressed no regrets for Jung’s groundbreaking therapeutic fucking. But what she did regret were a number of her psychoanalytic ideas being stolen by Jung and Freud and her being effectively written out of the history books.

    I agree with Will Hall’s implicit call for fighting corruption. I think that all therapists that consider themselves therapeutic fuckers should come out about it and make it absolutely clear from the off that their therapy may involve them prostituting themselves out for cash.

    I expect gentler terms would be arrived at in the honest self-reappraisal.

    Therapy with benefits?

  • Hands up who’s read the original study?

    It’s very poorly designed. And it sets the bar so low that it’s no wonder they found a strong correlation. I suppose, setting the bar high (ie. in their definition of psychosis, rather than sloppily going ahead with psychosis-like, or anything a little teeny bit like psychosis at all, anything, you once thought you heard a sound, any sound, and then you didn’t, and did you ever have a bad experience in childhood, anything, someone a little bit nasty to you, and made you cry, yes, once? that’s enough) the correlation would have been weak, and so not much point going ahead with something that was clearly intended as an exercise in bias confirmation.

    I’m not opposed to the idea that some people’s problems stem from bad experiences. Although these days this idea seems to have become a bit of a trendy and maddeningly simplifying narrative that has taken off as some kind of mass delusion.

    It would be better surely to come up with robust studies that are courageous enough to risk not confirming the bias, but which might open up other avenues of thought?

    Yes. I know. I expect too much.

  • I trust that you give a shit, Mr McCrea. I trust that if someone was having a hard time in your presence that you’d reach out to them. You’d go out of your way to help them.

    I’m like that too.

    Everyone, including you, including me, can lose sight of that, we can forget, or we can be uptight or worried or frightened. And we’ll hold back and do what most people do, because if you don’t hold back, imagine the shit this person could bring into your life…

    Imagine the shit this person could bring into your life.

    Do you really want that?

    Does anyone really want that?

    You ask, “Would it sell?”

    My counter-question is: “Do you give a shit enough to want that level of shit in your life?”

    Honest answer is no.

    I await your answer.

  • I wrote: “Headline: Mad in the UK “collective” Snubs Mad People”

    Auntie Psychiatry wrote: “Evidence?”

    Everyone snubs someone. That’s the name of the social game. Who have you been snubbing lately? I’ve been snubbing so much I have a sore snub.

    But on a less serious note, it was a joke. Most of the time I’m the only one who gets my jokes. I know they are funny because (1) no-one hardly ever lets me know I’ve made them laugh (2) they make me laugh. This is a currently undocumented form of narcissism, so far as I can tell.

    What I like most about my jokes is how funny they are. Just now I read back and I didn’t cringe or suchlike. I was immediately chuckling to myself. If only someone else could make me laugh the way I make myself laugh. It would be bliss.

  • Peter Breggin wrote: “As family members, therapists or doctors, what if we never again promoted or prescribed drugs as a “treatment” because they ultimately impair our frontal lobes and hence our ability to love?”

    Aye, just stick to those friends of the frontal lobes, alcohol, nicotine, sugar, aspartame, and cocaine.

    I suppose looking back to history, we will find more Love, prior to impairing our frontal lobes with psychiatric drugs?

    Okay. Let’s peer back through time and find the Great Age of Pre-Psychiatric Love. Keep going, keep going… and, keep going. O dear, we appear to have fallen over the edge of human time, to a time without humans.

    Okay, bring it back a bit. Hit the brakes! We’ve hit another cliff-edge, and gone to the time when no humans remain.

    One thing that struck me though was that beauty, that natural strangely harmonic beauty, when the humans aren’t turning the whole world gradually into some kind of plastic legoland of Love… serene… but also… lacking in something.

    Anyway best of wishes to all the lovers of the frontal lobes. Just one word of caution. Don’t get too attached to them. When it comes to the crunch, not even a perfectly functioning unabused pair of frontal lobes will prove much use to ya…

    Love to all xxx

  • I was in a store a few days ago and this woman was having a go at the cashier. She was accusing her of traumatising her. Good grief, I was thinking, and shuffled over to be of assistance, thinking there was perhaps a threat of death situation or some such. Turns out the woman with the trauma-claim was trying to return a pullover with a coffee or red wine stain on it, and the cashier was refusing.

    The emotion in her voice was palpable. No mistake. But trauma?

    In RJ McNally’s book Remembering Trauma, he writes: “The threshold for classifying an experience as traumatic is lower when times are good. In the absence of catastrophic stressors such as war, specialists in traumatic stress turn their attention elsewhere, discovering new sources of victims or hitherto unrecognized trauma.”

    I respect his bathos. People are trivialising trauma. It now means anything which upsets them a little bit, any slight narcissistic injury, any mention of anything which is mildly difficult or unpleasant. And it’s about as sincere as offering an injured dolphin a retirement at SeaWorld.

    Why are people so keen to make everything difficult in life a trauma? What do these kinds of people expect life to be? Even Disney films depict hardship, loss, trials… and they are by and large sentimentalised garbage.

    This is what happens when a small clique of people dominate the picture and make demands for system-change that do not widely reflect what people want and need. You end up with a farce. A traumatising farce.

  • “[…]to assume that someone is knowledgeable enough about the effects of a prescription drug, based on the information his or her doctor provides when writing a prescription, is making a huge leap.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I do not think that most people have an adequate understanding of biochemistry and physiology to allow them to make informed decisions about the risks of taking medications (psych or non-psych).”

    A doctor can’t tell you what will happen to you. All they can do at best is express hope that you feel a bit better. Whatever that means?

    Even the world’s foremost biochemist is unable to have an adequate understanding of what will happen to *you* if you take a psychoactive drug. Most of their knowledge is based on what has happened to mice, rats and fruitflies. In *isolated* *controlled* environments.

    And then they are unable to predict what will happen to a specific mouse, rat or fruitfly.

    And even then, no-one has a blinkin’ clue what happens when all these drugs enter the wild, and mix it up with all the culturally okayed shit, and all the environmental pollutants, the chemicalised environment, and plastic particulates in the food chain.

    It’s more complex than the simplifying narratives make it out to be.

    Never trust a simplifying narrative!

    There are expectancy effects and there is the placebo effect and some drugs are downy, and some others are uppy, and some others can be trippy. Beyond that, what does anyone really know about drugs and how can anyone realistically measure the effects of drugs on human beings? Moreso, on an individual?

    How can a doctor be held to blame if someone regularly using alcohol, sugar, aspartame and caffeine comes a-pleadin’ for a fix when their coctails catch up with them? And gives them what they want?

    And how honest are people anyway about their drug use with their doctors? Especially, as you know, most people are necking drugs under the self-delusion that they are non-drug substances.

    “The medical profession has a burden of responsibility as the gatekeepers of access to prescription medications. That is the issue being discussed here.”

    It’s all a bit too much scapegoaty and unrealistic if the broad issue of drugs and self-drugging isn’t included in a more honest and open discussion. Singling out one aspect of this drug opera isn’t getting to the heart of the issue. Which seems to be the way the world turns much of the time.

    I agree that the gate is too wide open. And needs pushing closed a fair bit. But afore that gate aren’t simply the gullible and the desperate. It’s a highly drugged population in disarray in a drug-normalised environment.

  • I read you blog post and I like your style and I like your vibe. I don’t have a problem with you using seroquel in order that you can maintain a functional life, especially as you are a working mother.

    I was diagnosed with schizphrenia a long time ago, in my late 20s. I struggle mostly with a generalized anxiety, insomnia, mood, concentration, disinhibiton, and persecutory thoughts. I have had visions and heard voices but they are, for me, quite rare events. I do not use antipsychotics.

    It has been a slow awakening. I have come to understand and accept, for once and for all, that a concussive traumatic brain injury at the age of 4-5 years old is what led to my lifelong difficulties. It has been quite a revelation to finally be acknowledged by my GP and mental health services. It has finally been acknowledged that the TBI has had a terrible impact on my life, and had I been born in recent years, then my childhood would have involved neuropsychologists and special educational and familial support to help me. It is too late now. I am approaching 50 years old. So I use my energies to keep fit and grow good food and when I can explore areas of natural beauty.

    I’ll soon be called in to meet up with a neuropsychologist. There is a charity called Headway and they have meeting groups. I’ve read around the subject a lot and I guess I’ll find people with whom I have a lot in common. Just as I did when finding mental health drop-ins and being on PICUs and wotnot. Lots of people with diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar have many of the same symptoms of TBI and vice versa. In fact many of them like me should be given a primary diagnosis of TBI. For me, it’s like I’m getting my genuine identity. Although I would prefer to have both schziophrenia and TBI labels.

    We are very different in that I cope without psychiatric drugs through rejecting magical thinking and you propose that magical thiking is what is going to transform your life.

    I do not doubt your abilities and I hope you have more success in life than I have. Mine has been a series of outrageous disasters, one after the other. I’d not be writing this if I didn’t have a sense of humour.

    I wish you well Ekaterina and hope we can meet face to face some day. We would make one another laugh, and have lots of interesting topics to talk about, I am sure.

  • Oops. Yes, sugar has nutritional value and depicting alcohol as a drug is an opinion. Please forgive my poor education.

    And yes, it’s very naughty when doctors dish out drugs that drug-seeking individualists go seeking. Very naughty indeed. And those poor-drug seeking people isolated in their desolate villages with no access to information. Those poor serfs being led along by the naughty doctors and the naughty pharmacists and their naughty leaflets.

    I mean, who doesn’t trust a leaflet with massive lists of side-effects?

    And we know alcohol and sugar is okay and much better than the naughty doctors stuff because have you ever been given a leaflet detailing lengthy health risks including death when purchasing alcohol and sugar?

    I should hope not!

    Damn those naughty doctors and hurray to the publican and the sugary food retailer!

  • People are entitled to believe that there’s some symbolic meaning in their psychosis. Some people enjoy ATTEMPTING TO SOLVE cryptic crosswords.

    To solve a cryptic crossword requires the crossword to be set by a skilled cryptician.

    So here we have an interesting slant on psychosis. Psychosis is a symbolic puzzle set by a skilled cryptician that has somehow lost the skill to decrypt their own encryptions.

    A therapist is therefore some kind of encryption-breaker, a skilled decryptician.

    Which must mean that my own experinces of psychosis have been enctrypted using complex elliptic curve algorithms that would take the most intelligent person several hundred million years to decrypt. Because I cannot make head nor tail of them and other people have claimed to have solved them, only to have performed the facetious act of filling in the crossword with words that fit and join up and match one another, but don’t actually solve the puzzle.

    Also, it is not black and white. To have problems of the brain does not equate to having a disease. It’s not a unsolved puzzle versus having a disease.

    For instance, traumatic brain injuries (I mean authentic ones, not histrionic ones) in childhood, can result in quite unfathomable developmental issues in the noggin, which even the most skilled cryptician would be unable to solve.

    A traumatic brain injury is not a disease. It doesn’t create a disease. It introduces absurdo-cryptic elements to a person’s personality and perceptual and experiential *styles* that no-one — at least no-one of a humble disposition — can solve.

    Odd (Scandinavian, pronounced “ot”) was terrified. He was walking home from a third group session of Foetal ReTRIB(e)utional A-waken-ing at his local Alienation Centre, and all the faces had become the meatus of a penis, and as he looked at each new passing stranger, each face was a meatus, and their hands were a meatus, and their necks a phallic shaft, and their eyes were like black pre-canecerous moles, and their hair thick strands of pubic growth.

    “The world is turning to cock!” he shouted aloud, and a leathery meatus-faced man was in earshot and gave chase.

    I will take that anecdote to the next ISPS conference — fleshed out, if you will — and request symbolic interpretations.

  • The overuse of the slash without spaces makes reading sometimes harder. Is this a hyphenated word, such as example-hyphenated or, (example–hyphenated) is this a slash? And the slashed out part of a sentence should be a violent departure or abrupt emphasising, not a gentle, or flowing clarification.

    So, say I was writing a sentence — and I want your fucking attention — that is the kind of tonal departure that a slashed out section should be used for, not a part like this, which is gently explaining things in the thematic flow of what came before. In that case, it’s best to use commas, or parentheses.

    Of course, grammar and language changes through constant mangling. But some punctuational rules are worth maintaining, for ease of reading.

  • I reject psychiatry outright. That is why I use antipsychotics. That is also why I accepted the invitation to the ghetto. They leave the door open but I wish to make it absolutely clear that I choose to remain here on my own terms. I have no fear of the world outside the ghetto. I mean, that is actually where I belong. I don’t understand why you can’t see that or why my decision to remain here and bellow and make a name for myself is essential. After all, my experience is universal. My demands are universal. My needs are universal.

    Fuck the open door! I will remain here and you will listen to me. I am beyond important. I am essential. If I wasn’t fundamental why do you think they would bring me here, and why do you think I would choose to remain here, despite the open door and the world outside?

  • It’s important to try and avoid the sententiousness that always accompanies one persons’ attitudes to someone elses’ drug use.

    If you are going to go ahead with the pompous moralising, then it’s best to do so from a very, very solid position of personal abstention from drugs, including from the most prevalent and damaging of all: alcohol and refined sugar.

    Alcohol alone, is the drug of choice for suicide, homicide, rape, domestic and stranger violence, and child abuse. It is toxic to all of the major organs, including the brain, the heart, the liver and the kidneys. It is attributable to a great many home fires, car accidents personal injuries, and disrupted social gatherings.

    How many regulars on here who castigate psychiatric drugs are using alcohol and sugar?

    How many people on here are well-informed and aware of the risks of alcohol and sugar but go on using them anyway?

    And more importantly, why?

    If alcohol and sugar are anything to go by, people can be repeatedly informed of the risks and the likely impacts on their health, but choose to go on using anyway. They weigh the pros and the cons and for them it balances on the positives.

    The same can be done with psychiatric drugs.

    Some people find solace through using them. They are aware of the pros and cons. Agree that people should be better informed. But force is a human rights issue, an infringement.

    But if bad news about drugs was enough to drive people away from them, then as I say, you don’t have to venture far from your own home to work out why bad news isn’t enough. And that’s true for almost everyone.

    Force. Compulsion. That is the problem that needs to be addressed, and perhaps more people inflicting forced drugging would be less willing to partake in this human rights infringement if they themselves were better informed about the risks.

  • People are free to use whatever terms they like without being harassed by the self-proclaimed terminology police. Despite that right to free expression, the terminology police will assert their right to freely express their policing of terminology.

    Embracing diversity and difference is important, but it’s never entirely possible. For instance, I struggle withe embracing rightwing ideologies, sexism, and hate-speech, and folks that push those agendas are careful to remind me about their right to be different.

    There is a line which is drawn at differing places and one person will always be over someone elses’ line.

    Ultimately sides have to be chosen, and then the battle commences. There is strength in numbers. And groupings can make people more vulnerable.

    I find it easy to agree with your sentiments because they are close to mine. I’m convinced I’ve thought myself into the correct and most moral perspective and find value in others that have reached the same conclusions. Other than that lot over there, and that lot over there, and so on, almost infinitely. What’s harder is to work out what I’m getting wrong. The only way to work that out is to actively disagree with myself and others who seem to align with me. Understandably that results in getting shunned. The last thing people want to do is work out what they are getting wrong, especially because that evasive place of sagacity is somewhere in between the values they hold dear and those they reject.

    And that’s true for everyone.

    best wishes.

  • Clearly different people will identify different experiences as tardive akathisia. I can’t relate to your attempt to turn it into words and maybe that’s because it can’t be. Every time I’ve read an attempt to narrate akathisia I’ve been left cold. Important to add that this includes my own attempts.

    I did like you pointing out on your website that akathisia gets red-lined as a spelling error often. As it does here. Which I have remarked on in the past yet it still goes on making me doubt. Which of course is taking the piss.

    (tardive also gets red-lined which again is a massive piss-take for a place like this)

    A lot of your agony seems more connected to dyskinesia. And you seem to be blurring the distinction.

    I’ve asked myself seriously if it is important to maintain the distinction and I think that it is. Dyskinesia is a very visible movement disorder. Akathisia is often an invisible torment.

    But I wish you well. And I hope one day I get to talk to you in person.

  • noel hunter wrote: “Take ostracism, for example. Being ignored, disliked, and left out, no matter how subtle, can be a death sentence for some. It can be more painful and more damaging than physical bullying or abuse.”

    Story of my life. Although I don’t find it painful. I have thought a lot into why I don’t find it painful. And I think it must be because (1) I don’t want a mad persona. so I do try real hard to create a mad persona in text online that is not-quite-me, and thus, not-quite-worthy of emotionally investing in. additionally, it’s the text that matters. not me. text is not a person. and text does not require reactive text to exist. for instance, it is not necessary to validate a book in a bookshop or in a library by leaving one’s own book next to it. in fact, the act of doing that might be considered uncouth. perhaps even criminal.

    (2) if one is ignored it is because one is considered perhaps unpredictable or unreliable or unworthy. again, I find those very agreeable reactions to my mad persona, which I reject. so ignoring me is in fact deepening my sense of abandonment of my false self, thrust onto me, and which I can only escape through active alienation. so thank you to the many people that wish me away. you add your wishes to my own.

    (3) I ignore people too, as does the author of the quote. we do it actively, knowingly, selectively, and as far as we’re concerned, conscientiously, and if we didn’t, we’d start to fall to pieces, because the energy we gain from alienating others, helps us gain and maintain the energy we need in alienating ourselves.

    the peculiar effect of this commitment to ignoring all other people, as much and as often as possible, has had the peculiar reverse effect in the real world. somehow I have become unusually, perhaps even at times, intensely approachable, and try as I might, the poor alienated folk just won’t leave me alone in public, they do not understand why they find me irresistable, or compelling… yet they do and I struggle to have a few moments of peace out and about

    of course, I am impeccably well-mannered during these assaults on my nihilism and misanthropy… remain impeccably and agreeably polite and well-humoured… yet even still, I long to be ignored, to be invisible, if only that I could get on with bone-chilling screaming out to the universe, and remain unheard and unacknowledged, like everyone else

    but, back to the article…

  • Interesting advice.

    The more I study the tactics and the mind-set of the agent provocateur, the more I find it difficult to distinguish the hard-line antipsychiatrist.

    In any activist group, the agent provocatuer will be the one who is most active, is the one that is most radical, is the one that is most consistent, the most pervasive, the most “there”, and is the one that by vurtue of their omnipresence, becomes the one most trusted, and the one that ends up being the one that all narratives must flow through.

    I’m not saying you are an agent provocateur, oldhead, but you share a remarkable number of characteristics.

  • Which brings us back to Frank Blankenship and his assertion that the only struggle worthy of blood sweat n tears is the human rights struggle.

    My interpretation of the antipsychiatrist, no apologies for the grotesque generalisation, is that they are more committed to an eternal debate and an eternal dance macabre with psychiatry, then they are with actual progress. In other words, they just wanna play the good cop bad cop routine, endlessly, sucking all the juice out of and undermining all efforts to find and establish better ways.

    They are the ultimate disruptive force to progress and the key factor as to why progress is so difficult to make, even on the level of discourse.

    For instance, rejecting outright the notion of “alternative” is helping who the most? Psychiatry or those who seek new ways of integrating mad folk into the social fabric?

  • oldhead wrote: “No, you don’t get it and probably shouldn’t try, whatever road you are on, if you are sincere, will eventually lead you to a place where we can at least speak the same language; right now it’s apples & oranges.

    I did not say the “alternative” to psychiatry is socialism, only that socialism is one step along the way to liberation. My point all along has been that the idea of “alternatives” is irrelevant to a discussion about fighting psychiatry. The main point of the above post is that fighting psychiatry and providing a network or program of “support” for troubled individuals are two separate tasks practically speaking and, whatever their relative value, should not be treated as the same.

    As for your last paragraph, even if your faith in “mental health” were realistic, it’s way too late for “change.” I see nothing to support any of your assertions here regarding “discourse.” At any rate, psychiatry has always been an ideology supporting whatever status quo is in effect.”

    It’s worth keeping in mind that oldhead and others have lived under 50 years of political repression/suppression of socialism, and so understandably are prone to romanticise socialism and, perhaps due to generations of educational biasing, have very little understanding either of the history of socialism or, as it is so closely tied to, the history of europe.

    So it is inevitable that a certain level of defensive aggressiveness will show through when talking to people who have lived experience of socialism, and indeed, as in the case of Ekaterina Netchitailova, state communism. There is no reason to believe that socialism is one step or any step towards the abolition of psychiatry. In fact, quite the reverse, the bolsheviks embrace psychiatry rather zealously, for the reasons their rivals do the same.

  • “When we hear about the exact same type of injustice and suffering that we know so intimately again and again for that many years, it is human nature to start to numb out about it a bit. It’s like how school shootings and all mass shootings were such a shock when they began, but now that they are happening every week, it seems, many of us tend to only feel acute emotions about the ones we are somehow more connected to.

    Call me a sociopath if you want…”

    A sociopath wouldn’t openly admit to the numbing. Quite the reverse, they’d most likely have spent 15 years becoming highly skilled at appearing genuinely empathic and inexhaustibly compassionate.

    So I hold my hand up for a high five coz I always appreciate bold honesty.

    One thing which may be slightly taboo to point out here is how maybe that numbing is not only a process of desensitising, but also an understandable defence mechanism… that is going to be experienced by mental health professionals too, people that are daily encountering high levels of stress and emotional pain, confusion and bewilderments… but which all boil down to the same essential dramas repeating themselves. That they willingly go back, day after day, for more, says a lot. I don’t know how they do it. And I don’t know how they can do it and not switch off to some degree.

    Personally, I try and keep away from it all as much as possible. Other mad people can drive me insane. So another high five for your personal qualities that mean you can handle it, even with setting boundaries, its more than I could handle, and more than many people could typically handle, especially helping people through withdrawals, which can be particularly harrowing.

    Best of luck and health.

  • The middle one I posted, itsfoss.com, by mistake and it’s recommendations aren’t at all good. So in that case it’s pushing “unsafe” info. For instance “Tails” isn’t safe, better to use it’s hardened cousin, “Heads”. The other two have no known third party scripts and trackers. Pay particular attention to the concept of “known”.

    The other two are as sound as you’re going to get with regards information to keep you safe. They have no known third party scripts and trackers. Pay particular attention to the concept of “known”.

    But you shouldn;t trust people on the internet, per se. Find a linux user group near you and they can help and advise. Although be aware that all Linux user groups will be infiltrated in some way by the secret services, for obvious reasons.

    Any website can be compromised, even ones headed-up by uber-geeks that are obsessed with your fundamental right to privacy.

    And no action you can take will be enough to prevent a national actor from infiltrating you, if you are that important.

    But many of these automatic systems can be at least held back somewhat enough to afford some space to breathe. In other areas activists have taken these concerns seriously.

    When they haven’t taken these concerns serriously, they have paid very dearly. A very good example of that is here:


    From an information security point of view these people were very easy to fool using standard social engineering techniques.

    If you don’t think that antipsychiatry activism would be considered reason enough to infiltrate and disrupt, think again.

    It only takes one attached document in an email to be opened up from a “trusted comrade” and your whole network is compromised.

    In the modern world new levels of paranoia are an asset.

    But this is all relatively mundane stuff. It gets really juicy when you open your mind to what is really happening with mental patients (and other vulnerable groups) with regards unlawful in vivo experiments and testings of mind control technologies. That’s where professionals start asking you to tell them who “they” are… in which case, perhaps best to use the term “unknown actors”

  • Althusser’s distinction between the Repressive State Apparatus and the Ideological State Apparatus can help to understand the role of psychiatry. Whats interesting is that in discussions of the RSA and the ISA, psychiatry only very rarely gets a mention. That is another of it’s successes.

    And yes, Oldhead is often hinting at Althusser, even if he may not be aware that he is.

    Having said that, just like other RSAs and ISAs, the function isn’t exclusively malign, and that’s perhaps where antipsychiatry repeatedly fails to gain ground.

    Having said that, Althusser’s concept of interpellation can be difficult to grasp, especially in this age of the self.

  • I’ll break this gently.

    Under RIPA (2000) and IPA (2016), Theresa May’s surveillance laws as Home Secretary and latterly Prime Minister, mental health teams have had the power to be informed about your internet history. This includes metadata such as sites visited, as well as other info such as Paypal* records, online banking records, social media data, pretty much any financial transactions conducted online. This also includes, email (by and large, depending on numerous factors). Now, having dug into this on and off for many years, it would seem that most of this information is provided, on request, by the appropriate regional police force who provide some kind of overview of the information which they can easily obtain, using a combination of national and bespoke local systems. But basically, the mental health services supply a list of names to the police who conduct the checks (and most likely hacks, if someone is using methods to circumvent surveillance) and supply a summary record. I haven’t so far been able to ascertain the level of detail of those summary records, but from what I can glean, they are interested in any personal information which broadens their forensic profiles. So expect a summary of buying habits, porn habits (if any), associations, sexuality, political interests, hobbies, searches, and so on.

    You have no right to access these records. You have no right to check their validity. Or decide who gets to see them.


    Be very careful about making a fuss about this. Never forget Dr Rita Pal. https://sites.google.com/site/ward87whistleblower/


    Has/is the use of RIPA and IPA powers by mental health teams proportionate and lawful?

    Since the murder of Jo Cox MP, by a mental health service user, the forensic profiling of mental health patients is now a routine matter and essentially the blanket reason given to justify the intrusive digital intelligence-gathering. Additionally, forensic psychology lists mental illness as a possible vulnerability factor in the radicalisation of a person, particularly the lone wolf type. Keep in mind that the most recent surveillance law gives the power to multiple agencies to either instigate or request a partner agency to deploy instrusive covert surveillance on a target individual. This can include microphone, cameras, and tracking devices, in any room/s in the home, and personal vehicles, for example. Although these days most people voluntarily append their person with a sophisticated intrusive surveillance device, namely their smartphone. And keep in mind that the internet is defined in RIPA as “a surveillance device”.

    IPA (2016) introduces a new crime for people involved in covert and overt surveillance. It is now a crime punishable by up to (I think) 7 years in prison to divulge to anyone that they have been, are being, or are going to be, subjected to overt or covert intrusive or non-intrusive surveillance. So if you raise this matter with your mental health service providers, expect to be met with incredulity.

    *(Paypal voluntarily share their data. They aren’t obliged to, as they are based outside UK jurisdiction)

  • Get hold of a de-googled version of Google Chrome such as Chromium. Install the plug-in called Umatrix. Play with it and you’ll soon pick up what to do.

    But if privacy is the goal, you need to be all-in to even stand a chance. So read here:


    and here:


    and here:


    Any serious activists should assume they are operating in a hostile environment and take necessary basic precautions, which are pretty much covered by the above sites.

  • Interesting read. I should say re-read. That’s for the ever-watching eyes. It took me five re-reads to get a handle. As evidenced by my browser history, which also evidences the frequency with which I went off-topic and continually examined information about frontal lobe injury. Additionally, this website has a plugin which evidences how long I stayed on the article each time, and where my mouse wandered.

    Actually, it didn’t as I have it blocked.

    I have just been passing messages via SMS. This is also on the record, kept for a year. And all these messages are continually scanned for keywords and phrases by AI systems.

    Just now I boiled a kettle. This created a known signature on the electricity system, recorded by the smart meter. So that my supplier and GCHQ are aware that (1) I’m at home, and (2) I’m probably having a cup of tea. And they’d be right, on both counts.

    I’ll stop exampling there, as it goes on, and it can frighten some people. But please stop suggesting that the Panopticon is theoretical and internalised.

    It is internalised, yes, by anyone with any amount of common sense.

    But it is not theoretical. It is a lived fact for everyone, particularly in the UK, the most sureveilled state in the so-called free world.

    Mental health patients in the UK are subjected to special provisions under UK surveillance law. This extends to new powers given to mental health teams nationwide who have new, and very close relationships with the secret services.

    This stuff used to be considered paranoia 101. But not any more. It is lived reality.

  • Sceptics often point out people who claim to have lived previous lives invariably claim to be well-known dead people, such as Anne Frank. There is a clear case to be made for overidentification. And there is clearly little concern for the problems of verification. A deliberate cynical fraud would surely involve claiming to be someone dead that is not well-known, whose life is not well-documented. But seemingly, non-famous people only very rarely reincarnate. Whereas famous dead people reincarnate frequently, sometimes multiple times at different places on the Earth, re-occupying living bodies simultaneously. For instance, Jesus reincarnates several thousand times a year, every year, the world over. Which is troubling, given that Jesus is clearly having problems getting the reincarnation right, which suggests some glitch or bug in the spawning system.

    I have tried to find a website that collates the reincarnated dead people, attempts to keep a count. It would be interesting to see how many Anne Franks there are currently, as well as an accurate number of Jesuses. John Lennon often reincarnates too. So does Mozart, Beethoven and — less mentioned — Adolf Hitler. I would like to be able to check in somewhere and keep an eye on the numbers. Not sure why I would find that reassuring, but I would.

    Language-wise, there is little difference between saying “I am Jesus reborn” compared to say “I am *like* Jesus reborn”. This is why I think that frontal lobe injury is probably a key factor in such phenomena, as the frontal lobes play a part in the regulation of self-image.

  • Youre welcome, Ekaterina.

    Like anything it depends, depends, depends. Some people would rather be left alone. I can often count myself in that number. It took a while to come to terms with that. I went through a period of thinking I had to recover. That it was possible to recover. And then, in exploring these areas, I discovered that time and time again, the pressures I was putting on myself were pushing me in the opposite direction. I kept getting worse.

    And I object to my achievements and adaptations, as humble as they are, being referred to as recovery. It’s not recovery to stay alive or not get arrested or have a bath. It’s not recovery to look in a mirror, or write online. You don’t get to recover from what some describe as severe and enduring mental illness. Or schizphrenia. Or whatever. Frontal lobe damage. Traumatic brain injury. Yes, plasticity, and so on. But for gawd’s sake it’s compensatory. All that evolution wasn;t for nothing and yes if you knock out one section of the noggin, another part of the brain can compensate. But it will never, NEVER!, function as well as that original brainflesh.

    I accept that some people want to be in recovery-oriented and so-called compassionate scenarios, and that they go in with high expectations, and come out sometimes as evangelists. This is fine, fine for them, but for people like me, people that do not buy into the New Age stuff, the evangelists for these kinds of things are a bit of a pain in the arse.

    The people you allude to, many of them, find comfort in their solitude, find peace in their minimal lives. They do not want to be compelled to be amongst others, in a designated place, herded, shepherded, prescribed an identity, compelled to think that an institution, of no matter what kind, is their natural habitat, and the best place for them, when things are tough. They want to be left alone, for the most part. For all the recovery-bashing zealots to back right off and populate whatever moon takes their fancy.

    Some people want to be in hospital wards. They get a lot out of it. They hit it off with staff and the experience is positive for them. Other people want to be in alternative institutions like Soteria, and it works for them, to be indulged by others in a less medical way, although Soteria Houses do not dispense entirely with medication, and of course, they have obligations, and legal requirements, and standards of behaviour and etiquette, institutional rules and modes of being, and are not unknown to ring the police to take over, when they have reached the limits of their limitless compassion.

    It depends, depends, depends. Always it depends.

    Some people such as myself would much rather, at times, be afforded a personal budget, and a full-time personal assistant, and the green-light to pop off somewhere quiet and solitudinal, near the sea, away from the agony of roads, and the filth of fumes and the sickness of bright lights and the horror of microwave technologies. There is the possibility of this, the carrot has been dangling for many for years, and a few have succeeded in establishing a social contract, a personal budget, and assistance to do with that what they will, psychosocially, for the better of their health and will to live and go on with what is, essentially, a very limited and painful life, by nature of the struggles they contend with.

    What I should have been given was a picture-in-picture rectangle in the corner of every single screen that ever got goggled at. I be there, constantly making comments, reacting, correcting grammar and spelling, pointing out logical inconsistences, plot irregularities, and unforgiveable instances of narcissistic character development, and underlining acts and utterances of class betrayal, and bigotry, and self-sodomising pretentiousness, of which there is so much these days, I can hardly come up for air, am deluged by it. For instance I said to a stranger yesterday, do you believe in god, and he goes no, and so I ask, well, have you ever believed in god, and he goes no, and I asks, well, there’s a thing and so have you ever indulged the idea that there might be a god, and he goes no, and so I ask, well, then youll struggle with my question, and I knew he had no interest in my question, but I asked it anyway, as I had a compulsion to finish, and so I asks him, do you think that god would request that someone killed themselves, and finally he awakens from his smartphone, and he goes, I DO NOT want to go there with that kind of thing, I dont want to think about it, and I asks, do you mind but do you self-identify as depressed, and he goes, FUCK YOU YES I AM DEPRESSED, and he looks like he’s going to punch me in the face and I smile at him and I goes, well, according to the bible, god loves you and he won’t ask you to kill yourself and in fact if ever a voice or thought appears in your noggin and suggests you should kill yourself, know this for sure, it isnt god doing it

    What I would like to see is less paternalism. Less assumptions being made without actually talking to people and getting a real angle on the true diversity of the mad community, for want of a better collective noun. So much of what is provided or established or proposed stems from the desires and hopes of too small a number of consulted persons, and this, I find, to be a very disagreeble pattern, a perhaps even insulting approach, demeaning, fakey… fakey in the sense of not actually all that concerned with the plight of others, and what they want, and what they think might help them, or even just what they know isn’t helpful to them, but an assumption that because a small handful of celebrity activists push an agenda, that is the totality of the agenda. I find that whole business sordid, and dispiriting.

    I accept that madinamerica is doing its bit to give a voice to people, but it’s like, say at a football match, on the terraces, you can only ever hear the voices closest to you, and even then only the ones that are bellowing the loudest,the rest, the vast majority, just merge into an overwhelm of voices indeterminate. the stories can never be exhausted. personally I consider that to be a wonderful thing. and I thank you sincerely for sharing your own. for a while it’ll ring in my ears. Best of luck and health.

  • Ekaterina Netchitailova wrote: “There is nothing apart from Mad in America website to help those who try to look for alternative explanations and views. Nothing. While there is an urgent need to actively help those who suffered in a more active way, such as self-education.”

    There are lots and lots of places on the internet that greet people with open arms who have experiences of past lives, or alternate famous personalities, or mystical experiences. Also, pretty much any religion is open to people having these experiences.

    Likewise the internet is replete with psychiatric survivors who are heavily invested in exploring away from the mainstream.

    You might make a start at


  • Ekaterina Netchitailova wrote: “Well Jesus was referred to somewhere as a paranoid schizophrenic…”

    Yes, I see that get repeated often and it’s a real chin-rubber of a statement.

    What you won’t see is people making the effort to think deeper into it.

    The post-Pauline Jesus is a mythical construct. The pre-Pauline Jesus is a human being and nothing more.

    The post-Pauline Jesus would, on paper, meet the criteria for schizophrenia. Except, a mythical person cannot meet psychiatric criteria, except as a kind of indulgent parlour game.

    The pre-Pauline Jesus was a revolutionary in some ways, but did not depart from any of the prevalent teachings of the time, in the East at least. He was very much a human being and does not meet the criteria for schizophrenia.

    Gautama Siddharta (who I do not believe was or is the Buddha, as such a being is a mythical construct) would, at turns, have met the modern criteria for schizophrenia, but not in the context of his own culture, by the by.

    I consider there to be very many people like myself who have suffered significant damage to the frontal lobes (and the parietal lobes) and later to the amygdala, who share many of the classic symptoms of schizophrenia/manic psychosis, and who will often end up with that label, as we live in a world that is uneasy about not categorising things, even when there is an obvious functional problem in a person’s brain.

  • To avoid this game with psychiatrists, don’t play the game with psychiatrists. If you kick the ball to them, and then complain when they kick it back…

    I am Martina Navratilova and I am Joan of Arc and I am Demis Roussos. It’s okay so long as I don’t make those claims to a psychiatrist.

    It’s a bit like walking up to a heavily armed Police Officer in London and telling them you are Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and then complaining that what happened next was an overreaction.

    Surely you wouldn’t say these things to a psychiatrist unless you wanted a reaction? And then… what reaction are you expecting?

  • It may have been a deliberate play on words…

    It’s upsetting to discover that a literary cool-dude such as George Bernard Shaw was also a bit of a kill-y, hatey-y person. I mean, read the Don Juan in Hell section in Man and Superman and come back and tell me you are not stirred into finding something good and thrilling inside you.

    But GBS is definitely being an antiauthoritarian in that extracted speech of his I posted. What is he opposing but the final authority of God and the sanctity of all human life, with the meekest as the core of humanity and the ultimate aim of all compassion. Like I say, have a read of Don Juan in Hell and it all links into the authoritarianism of eugenics which is merely a displacement of the authoritarianism of God and fundamental Christian values.

    Which is the problem of nihilism and the anti. It seeks to annihilate or depose that which it considers an illegitimate authority, via the mechanism of its own authoritarianism. Deposing the despot in order that the space is filled by the deposing authority.

    As I wrote previously, I am under a lot of strain so I could just as well be missing the point.

    A couple of days ago I limped into the local park with my dog and was alarmed to spy three youths attempting to stamp out a fire they had started, that had already part-decimated a children’s play area. I approached them and they all scarpered, but one remained. He reminded me of when the akathisia was kicking in at the beginning of each freshly injected month, all those years ago when I was on the forced depot. He had ants in his pants. It went like this:

    “You know… back in the day… when I was your age… they often wouldn’t listen to me.”
    “Trust!” he replies.
    “I think if they had listened to me, my life might have been much better.”
    “Trust!” he says again, “Trust!”
    “But you know… sometimes… sometimes you do have to listen to other people. To older people, adults…”
    “And you know… playing with fire, arson. In many ways it’s considered by the courts as worse than murder. The authorities are not happy about people lighting fires. When they catch people doing it they often send them to forensic institutions, and torture them…”
    And then the fire engine could be heard approaching. And the firemen started pounding across the grass towards us.
    “This is the bit where you run away.”

    And off he ran with one last, “Trust!”

  • I agree with it. That was my motivation to post it.

    And not without irony, given that an appeal to authority to make a point is a quintessentially bourgeois rhetorical device. But ah well. Lenin nails it.

    The other discomfort is the bourgeois tactics Lenin deployed in exploiting the anarchists and then reneging on the promises post-revolution. That was a dreadful faux pas, although, realistically, would you really want such a wart of disruption growing on your state’s chubby flank?

    I’m under a lot of strain and when I am under a lot of strain I remember bits and bobs from my younger years. I once self identified as a leninist-trotskyist. Those were proud and hopeful days. During those times I made acquaintance with many self-identifying anarchists and I admired many of them, and learnt much from them.

    These days I am a hermit and enjoy watching youtube videos made by targeted individuals. Increasingly I’m feeling an affinity with them.

    Funny how life ebbs and flows, innit.

  • Frank Blankenship wrote: “Yeah, better to stick with nihilism than become a contradiction in terms.”

    Anarchists are romantic nihilists. Nothing wrong with that, as such. Everyone loves a good bonfire of the vanities, even if its vain people carrying the matches.

    Some good things have come out of anarchism. Punk rock. Grafitti. Situationism. All of course easily assimilated, because, as lenin points out, its the flip-side of bourgeois self-obsession dressed up as anti this and anti that. When really the whole point of the anti is that it cannot exist without its antithesis.

    The anti does not want to rid the world of what it opposes. It wants to dance eternally with it.

  • “It is not for nothing that international socialist congresses adopted the decision not to admit the anarchists. A wide gulf separates socialism from anarchism, and it is in vain that the agents-provocateurs of the secret police and the news paper lackeys of reactionary governments pretend that this gulf does not exist. The philosophy of the anarchists is bourgeois philosophy turned inside out. Their individualistic theories and their individualistic ideal are the very opposite of socialism. Their views express, not the future of bourgeois society, which is striding with irresistible force towards the socialisation of labour, but the present and even the past of that society, the domination of blind chance over the scattered and isolated small, producer. Their tactics, which amount to a repudiation of the political struggle, disunite the proletarians and convert them in fact into passive participators in one bourgeois policy or another, since it is impossible and unrealisable for the workers really to dissociate themselves from politics.”

    Lenin, 1905

  • I would also like to be an authority on antiauthoritarianism, maybe even become a bit of an authority figure for antiauthoritarians?

    Actually probably best I stick with the absurdism and the dada.

    Problem with the anarchists is their general lack of regard for other peoples’ stuff. It being a kind of virtuous act of liberation to fuck with other peoples’ stuff, to kinda teach them a fundamental lesson about the illegitimacy of ownership (thankfully rape was broadly discussed and settled as an unacceptable disregard for ownership way back in the 19th C.).

    Bakunin for instance was okay with arson and burglary. You can’t destroy an anarchists property causes it’s all shared and so you’d be destroying your own assets too. So non-anarchists are fair game. Coz they aint sharing.

    This is music to the ears of arsonists and burglars.

    For religious people, there is only one final authority. To the atheist, it’s an unsolved problem, answered with pseudo-talk about the golden rule.

    I think most authority is arbitrary, if you deconstruct it, just a little. Is Simon Cowell an authority on popular music? I think most would say yes, but then would Paul McCartney. And then who knows best between McCartney and Lennon, or both of them and Dylan. It goes on and on.

    The final authority on the absurdism of a human life, any human life, is Samuel Beckett. Although, who’s to say it isn’t Salman Rushdie or De Seus?

    Psychiatry is an authority that people have decided is best suited to these times. They cut through a lot of the crap and put their finger on things that no-one can in actual fact put their finger on.

    It’s a more frightening world without the witchdoctor. And God knows those illegitimate shamans have a lot to answer for…

  • Interesting polemic, Dr Kelmonson. But with one major omission.

    I’m going to write it in uppercase for dramatic effect. Here we go:


    The real conspiracy from China ie the revenge for the Opium Wars, has been to flood Europe with novel psychoactives. These have given rise to the so-called zombie drugs given affectionate names such as Spice and Monkey Dust and so on. Tonnes and tonnes of these novel drugs are being produced in China and shipped out to every major port in the West. They are all variations on a theme, variations of amphetamines, and ecstasy, and amphetamine. And cannabinoids. It was because of this that the UK fundamentally changed its drug laws. Going from a list-model, to a blanket model.

    Also, you forgot to mention Turkey. Turkey was once the number one source of illegal heroin supplies. It was then helped to transform into the world’s number one producer of medical heroin, diamorphine.

    Following the last Afghan War, the world’s number one supplier of illegal heroin is Afghanistan.

    Synthetic opioids are generally more addicting and dangerous than the organic stuff. And there is a worldwide shortage of diamorphine.

    Maybe it is time to help Afghanistan legitimise its opium production, as Turkey did, and become another supplier of legitimate global diamorphine…

    Just to add that if used correctly and under medical supervision opium is more likely to lengthen life than shorten it.

  • @despondent

    I wasn’t struggling with understanding what you were doing. I was more puzzled as to why you were bothering.

    Then again, that calls into equal question my eagerness to reply.

    And again, I’m not sure which of the neurochemicals is driving me to do this. Or drove you to reply the way you did.

    I read a blog piece years ago by The Last Psychiatrist so share your “back of a cigarette packet” understanding of neurology.

    What concerns me is this. All of the antipsychotics at low doses (ie suboptimal) are not acting on the dopaminergic system per se, but moreso on the histaminergic system.

    So a low dose antipsychotic is effectively a high dose antihistamine.

    Now way back when I was self-medicating with antihistamines I was warned that long term I was risking an antihistamine-induced psychosis. And I looked this up. And I found this to be evidenced. And in fact that is why people are discouraged from using antihistamines long-term and high dose as a sleep aid. Doing so can induce psychosis.

    So when I read on here and elsewhere and encounter people in the real world who advocate for the compromise of a low-dose antipsychotic (which, remember, acts as a high-dose antihistamine) I can’t help but feel troubled and a smidge alarmed.

    Might it be that this is actually dreadful advice? Might it be that that low dose antipsychotic is actually perpetuating someone’s suffering?

    Makes you wonder, innit bro.

  • @ despondent

    To continue the theme… which neurochemical do you think was primarily involved in you formulating that opinion?

    LSD, btw, affects the entire brain/nervous system, all of the time that it is active. And the brain is processing information and patterns in peculiarly parallel ways, all of the time, at differing frequencies. LSD kinda screws with all of that, in equally complex ways.

    The dopamine hypothesis is a crude reductionist attempt to make meaning. I think the only actual purpose it serves is to legitimise the neuroleptics.

    5HT2A is the term scientists use instead of serotonin. Fixating on that is also a reductionist attempt to make meaning.

    How many identified neurochemicals are there now?

  • Bob Johnson wrote: “Thus in 1986, I asked a woman I’ll call Grace to address an empty chair on which we’d agreed to place an image, a memory of an abusive parent. “Hello parent, I’m an adult.” I knew enough by then to invite her to say that. Guess what? She couldn’t. I was astonished. She then turns to me, and repeats these words verbatim — no problem there. On turning back to the empty chair, her mind went blank — no words would come out.”

    I would also, in 2018, refuse to address an empty chair with the phrase, “Hello parent, I’m an adult.” This would not be because of a shut-down Broca’s area or non-functioning frontal lobes. It would be because I’d find it very odd for a psychiatrist to be asking me to do this. I would suspect it was a trick request. A mind game.

    This experiment would have yielded better results if the context was changed. For instance, in a drama group. Imagine Grace was in a psychodynamic drama group and was asked to imagine that an abusive parent was sitting in a vacant chair and that she should say, “Hello parent, I’m an adult.” I’d lay my bet on her complying with the request, no problem at all.

    Recently I attended a very brief (about 15 minutes) psychiatric examination to get some kind of confirmation of my diagnosis. At the end he conceded that he could not affirm any diagnosis as the interview was too short and he’d have to see me more often, for longer periods of time, to make his mind up.

    Very reasonable, I thought. Very reasonable indeed.

    Not long after I was called in by my GP to discuss a letter from the psychiatrist. In it the psychiatrist says he could not find any pathology whatsoever. And that I should be completely discharged from psychiatric services.

    Work that one out.

  • It’s heartening always to read articles like these that encourage honesty and non-pretentiousness. It isn’t a particularly popular message, and probably never will be, because it doesn’t offer anyone an escape hatch. And people grow accustomed to their escape hatches. Some even refuse to stand anywhere other than directly above one.

    Honestly, I believe, is always the best medicine. Everyone fucks up from time to time. When power is abused it’s often to conceal personal errors. And that ultimately just serves the beast.

  • “If it has locked doors you’re an inmate, if you come and go under your own power you’re an outmate. Why is this difficult?”

    Don’t forget the shake-it-all-about-mates.

    This is a very, very slow train to liberation. Must be disheartening every time a jet flies over. None of this was or probably is a necessary distraction for the vast majority of people caught up in psychiatric dramas or even those that have found new non-psychiatric dramas to involve themselves in.

    One thing many of us here trapped under the line to endlessly react to an agenda we have no control over… is that we made a way out of psychiatric oppression, to greater or lesser degrees, pretty much entirely by our own will, with very little to no assistance from “professionals”.

    In other words, we rebelled without a guidebook.

    I wonder if I had access to Levine’s guidebook things would have turned out differently?

    Would I still be thinking my rightful place is below the line, or that the endless wait for a train that will probably never arrive is a noble pursuit in life, and that I should work on the envy I feel every time a jet flies overhead?

    Just in case I’m not ignored here — as is usually the case — please don’t embarrass yourself trying to answer these questions.

  • Poison Ivy wrote: “sex abuse survivors don’t lie about how we were abused and by whom.”

    Well, non-sex abuse survivors do in actual fact lie about how they were abused and by whom. Here is an example of a false accuser brought to justice:

    “Jemma Beale, 25, from west London, invented four separate incidents of sexual assault, one of which led to man being wrongly convicted”


    Unfortunately, there are, have been and will go on to be liars who make false allegations for all kinds of reasons, including baffling unreasons.

    They undermine authentic survivors but remind us never to automatically believe anyone lest we inadvertently involve ourselves in human rights abuses.

  • bippyone wrote: “there is no question in my mind that the label of madness is detrimental to a person.”

    Because there isn’t a question in your mind it doesn’t follow that there are no questions to be asked. In many contexts the nouns “mad” and “madness” do not connote something undesirable or even stigmatised. The mad artist, the mad poet, the mad hatter. They are quirky, interesting and attractive tropes.

    Also when people do mad things, like jump out of planes without a parachute (to inspire people), they will frequently be described as mad, and their daredevilness as a mad act. And not a whisper of condemnation will he heard.

    So madness isn’t the problem. Being mad isn’t the problem either. And the nouns mad and madness are definitely not the problem.

    So what is the problem?

    The problem is how the mad person channels the madness into mad acts. It’s how the madness is acted out, in a mad performance, that is the problem.

    Find a way to act out the madness in a way that society accepts (or can learn to accept) and now what was once considered a problem, is an asset.

    As Foucault points out, when leprosy retreated from europe, the mad started to be persecuted. It is possible, I believe, to bring back some of those medieval sociocultural accommodations of madness. It’s not all doom and gloom. And it isn’t necessary to forever fixate on psychiatry and the psychiatric process. Doing so is likely to be self-debasing.

  • After making comment on the Trump Anxiety Disorder is Fake News post by Chris Coombs, I was looking out on a limb with my views.

    But, albeit in a much less developed way, they do kinda align with Thrift and Sugarman.

    It seems crazy that at this stage of the game there isn’t a coherent understanding or consensus about what social justice means, or even looks like. But I agree that it shouldn’t look like a backdoored medical model in psychotherapeutic contexts.

    Probably the biggest problem is the depoliticised landscape. It started here with Thatcher, and Rupert Murdoch, and changing the working class culture from collective to individualist.

    There seems to be a natural tendency for oppressed social groups to veer towards the left. So the “safe spaces” are by and large forbidden from engaging in or encouraging political discourse. If this isn’t adhered to the organisation risks losing its charity status, and funding.

    Goes to show how the banner of social justice can be waved by psychologists who are effectively promoting an individualist agenda.

    The only possible way I can see to subvert these problems and get the better of the situation is through the encouragement, by psychologists, of collective art-forms, such as theatre and film, of the disruptive kind.

  • Unlike the above posters I haven’t had the luxury of sampling many different kinds of psychotherapy and so can’t really be as bold about it as I can be about forced treatment with thermonuclear brain-bombs.

    I do not trust Open Dialogue in the UK. The UK mental health system is now very closely aligned to a new regionalised secret service system and they are also routinely involved in various human rights abuses in terms of covert surveillance. Considering that laws have been passed in this country of the “neither confirm nor deny” type, I have absolutely no reason to believe that any dialogue within the mental health system could be considered open or transparent.

  • “People get anxious about a number of things which are scary.” As well as things which most people would not consider scary at all. “Trump is scary and dangerous” to some people. “People willingly seek out counseling to talk about any number of reasonable anxieties they face in life.” I wish I wasn’t so troubled by other peoples’ language use as much as I am at times, but why the “willingly”? And people also seek out counselling to talk about any number of unreasonable anxieties too.

    In fact, why would anyone seek out counselling for reasonable anxieties about things that most people find scary? Why give someone money except to help you with unreasonable anxieties about things most people don’t find scary?

    Any ideas, Shaun?

  • People are discussing their anxieties about the Donald Trump presidency with their counsellors and therapists and the media has latched on to the fact that one of them had, tongue-in-cheek, described the phenomenon as Trump Anxiety Disorder.

    You think this is wrong because calling peoples’ anxieties about the Donald Trump presidency a disorder, even if doing so jokingly, strips their anxieties of social context.

    I fail to see how jokingly referring to people seeking out therapists and who discuss their anxieties about Donald Trump as having a disorder strips them of their social context.

    Firstly, the social context is that people are seeking out therapy for their sociopolitical anxieties. In other words, to some extent, they are pathologising themselves. There is something wrong with me, there is something wrong with my anxieties about the Donald Trump presidency, therefore I must strip myself of social context by individualising my anxieties and seeking a one-to-one individualised context.

    Secondly, and by consequence of the first, if said people are desocialising their anxieties, through seeking individualised therapies for their sociopolitical anxieties, is it sensible to consider them and their motivations to be ordered (ie. not disordered)? I mean, if a person has a tendency towards individualising sociopolitical anxieties, and seeking therapy for them, rather than engaging in social action, might they fall under the umbrella of narcissistic?

    And — I mean neither to condemn nor support the Trump presidency, as I experience it as pure entertainment — but you condemn him as narcissistic — a veritable disorder — and yet seem to fail to see the narcissism of seeking out individualistic solutions to sociopolitical anxieties.

  • Lithium, after a point, is toxic to all cells in the body, only it tends to affect the brain and the kidneys moreso than elsewhere as that is where it mostly concentrates. Is my understanding (gleaned in part from the great tome of Manic Depressive Illness by Goodwin and Jamison).

    Lithium is a dumbing-down drug, by and large. It seriously impairs the intellect in many people. That can be permanent.

    As Doug Stanhope once observed, most of the psychiatric drugs are dumbing-down drugs. A complaint often made by psychotherapists was that their manic patients were outfoxing them. And that lithium was effective at putting a stop to that.

    So if you’re too quick-witted, lithium or antipsychotic. If you bore the hell out of people, ssri. If you are a pain-in-the-arse, ritalin.

    And if youre tediously emotional, then benzos.

    It’s a game of cat and mouse.


  • “Aren’t they aware that lithium, a nutrient, has been a treatment for mood dysregulation for decades?”

    That’s a deceptive statement. Lithium predominantly acts as a nutrient at low doses (1mg or less). It is not given to people at these doses for the treatment of mood dysregulation. For the latter it is given in much higher doses (150mg and +) and at these doses acts predominantly as a psychoactive drug.

    Would anyone claim that 150mg+ of lithium was nutritional therapy?

  • I agree with you that there are far too many people popping opioids that could be far more humanely helped via other methods, such as excercise, qigong and other oriental approaches to bodily balance, and perhaps psychotherapy as PTSD and childhood trauma can manifest in some people as physical pain.

    I disagree with your hypothesis that functional disorders such as fibromyalgia were invented to create a market for drugs. There are genuine sufferers and they deserve help.

    On a personal level, I avoid all painkillers, pretty much all of the time. I prefer to know what’s happening in my body. But not everyone is an extreme masochist like me.

    Actually one time I did take opioids was following a triple nose surgery. Yes, I have three noses. The surgeon prescribed codeine. It enabled me to lay on my back in bliss, as recommended, to help the nose heal correctly. It made me appreciate just why some people in horrendous emotional pain would seek out such drugs.

    I tried street heroin once, when I turned 40. I didn’t like it. I was alone on Christmas Day for the first time and it did help take the edge off. I have no desire to ever do it again.

    But again it made me appreciate why people in tremendous emotional pain would be attracted to it. And given the world we live in, no-one hardly has much time for people in emotional pain. They are considered an irritant.

  • I successfully stopped taking antipsychotics 20 years ago. 800mg twice a day Amisulpride for nearly 3 years. Prior to that 11 months of a torturing depot injection at a much too high dose (intentionally I believe). And prior to that a year or so of Thioridazine (which I abused, regularly taking twice the recommended daily dose in one day, then fibbing that I’d lost them when my script ran out).

    I did it alone. Secretly. I was in very impoverished circumstances. I was heavily reliant on tobacco (for reasons those in the know, know) and decided to do the antipsychotics first, then address the nicotine afterwards. So often it was a choice between having a little bit of food, electricity and gas heating, or, maintaining a supply of tobacco. So’s I would mostly choose the tobacco. I had no money for clothes. Public transport. I had no phone. No TV. No washing machine. I was very isolated and would regularly go days, sometimes weeks, without human contact. The most regular contact I had was with the pharmacist to pick up the pills. I’d then come home, dissolve them in water, and pour them down the sink.

    What kept me going was walking. I’d walk and walk and walk for miles through the countryside, off the beaten track. Other times I’d spend most of my waking days lying down.

    It took about 3 months to start to feel something approaching normal.

    I continued to keep it quiet for over a year. And then people started lauding me as a drug success story. My conscience got the better of me and I fessed up. I felt a peculiar guilt, like I’d let people down. But I soon got over that.

  • Desinquisiteur wrote: “There is no critical biology, no critical physic, not even critical psychology.”

    Except there is a critical psychology.

    Wikipedia wrote:

    “Critical psychology is a perspective on psychology that draws extensively on critical theory. Critical psychology challenges mainstream psychology and attempts to apply psychological understandings in more progressive ways, often looking towards social change as a means of preventing and treating psychopathology.

    One of critical psychology’s main criticisms of conventional psychology is that it fails to consider or deliberately ignores the way power differences between social classes and groups can affect the mental and physical well-being of individuals or groups of people. It does this, in part, because it tends to explain behavior at the level of the individual.”


    The man who developed the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques for use at black sites and Guantanamo Bay was… a psychologist, James Mitchell.

  • I enjoyed reading this. It made me chuckle a few times. I’m not in the frame of mind to feel much motivated to defend people suffering from functional disorders such as fibromyalgia. You seem very dismissive of them. I suppose some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others. But if it’s ruining someone’s life, popping pills is probably the lesser of two evils. Certainly chronic insomnia induced by unremitting pain would be nothing to scoff at.

    But scoff some will and no matter.

    What advice would you give a sufferer of fybromyalgia? “Stop being a sissy and get over yourself?”

    Actually, my GP would probably say that. He doesn’t mince his words.

  • I’m not an ignoramaus so’s I’ll bash out a reply just as soon as I feel confident that my prose gives me the edge.

    In the meantime try and think of one thing about yourself that no other human being possesses. You are not allowed to say “my mind” because it’s an hallucination and thus doesn’t exist. Something which doesn’t exist is not unique.

  • It’s a sensible statement.

    Forced treatment is a power given to psychiatric systems by the government. Abolishing psychiatric systems will not address the issue of force. In such a scenario the government would opt to give an equivalent power to some other system.

    I would expect currently non-force and anti-force professional bodies would be clamoring to fill the gap should the opportunity arise.

    The only meaningful struggle is to fight for the furtherance of human rights for the mentally disabled. And even then, there would have to be exceptions, some compromise, for a government to even consider it.

  • Thanks for the theoretical considerations, Steve. But I fail to see how any of what you have written above would have stood any chance whatsoever helping poor Akmal Shaikh or anyone like him in a similar pickle.

  • Maybe it would’ve, maybe it wouldn’t’ve. Who knows?

    Point is though that, unlike Chika Honda, Akmal Shaikh was manic. Impulsive. Erratic and ebullient. He was high and, therefore, vulnerable. He was especially vulnerable because he had not been officially diagnosed, despite what Repreive were asserting at the time. Alike Chika Honda, he required a competent translator. Although not to interpret his words, but to interpret his mental state.

    I want to live in a world in which people like Chika Honda and Akmal Shaikh have full human rights in all situations. If you speak a different language you have the right to a competent language interpreter. If you have a mental condition such as untreated bipolar, you have the right to a mental *interpretation* by a competent psychiatrist.

    If you deny that people like Akmal Shaikh have a right to assessment by a competent psychiatrist, then that equates to denying that people like Chika Honda have the right to a competent interpreter.

    And in both cases, because this is the Planet Earth and not Planet Vulcan, having one’s rights asserted and protected does not guarantee an outcome, but it does set a standard humanity is best aspriring to, without exception.

    It’s interesting too that Chika Honda has attracted the rallying cries for justice and even had a film made about her. And rightly so, and I stand with those who call for her pardon.

    But people like Akmal Shaikh are rapidly forgotten. You will hardly ever hear mention of their names. Their stories slip into oblivion very rapidly.

  • “Rather than recognising that neuroplasticity means we hans are all, entirely unique and our way of developing uniqueness is also entirely unique.

    Patterns can be found anywhere, even a snowstorm. That doesn’t mean the patterns are the important thing to note.”

    Human beings are not entirely unique. In fact, it goes even further than that. For a long time our anthropocentrism got the better of us, and our long-gone cousins were depicted in science and popular culture as entirely unique, bestial. Whereas, cor blimey and strike a light, it’s now understood that they weren’t entirely unique, but humblingly very alike indeed. Just read about the neanderthals in europe.

    It’s interesting — to me at least — that the same people that claim snowflake uniqueness are also often to be found aggrandising Jung. And Jung gave rise to the Myers Briggs testing of personality types…

    People are not entirely unique. Even one hominid compared to another, are not entirely unique. And what a horror show it would be if we were. What a desperately lonely planet…

    “We need to give up on trying to find ways to categorise and isolate ourselves and each other and look around, smell the roses, check out the incredible diversity of the world.”

    Yeah man. Like ants and frogs and tuna. Noted for their interpersonal uniqueness?

    Smell the rose in Prague or smell the Rose in Kentucky. Not the same rose but close your eyes and you could be anywhere.

    “A world where it should be possible to seek genuine help without either labelling or shame. Or both.”

    Do you extend this to the socially more acceptable (although nonetheless stigmatising) diagnoses such as fibromyalgia and migraine headaches?

  • Just to add, our PM at the time expressed his horror that Akmal did not even get a psychiatric evaluation of his mental state prior to his execution.

    Another triumph for antipsychiatry?

  • At a guess it’ll be the Power Threat Meaning Model cabal. I wonder why they are being so shy about it? At least 65% of people that suffer psychosis don’t have an underlying trauma. So, why push a model that is only relevant to 35% of the mad? Seems a bit of a power imbalance in itself.

    Of course, understanding how these things tend to pan out, none of these questions are likely to be answered.

    It’s a shame because the main strength of Mad In America is its plurality of voices and viewpoints.

    Ah well.

  • I mean to ask, Why is only one of the ten people involved in the Mad in the UK collective willing to have their identity out in the open?

    One of the abiding aspects of Mad in America I respect is that the identity of everyone involved in its running is proudly shared. Way to go.

  • “The collective is at present composed of 10 people with varying and overlapping backgrounds and interests. 7 of us have survivor experience and 5 of us have MH professional backgrounds (and some have both).”

    Why the lack of transparency from the off?

  • What a brilliant idea! And very-well executed. I hope this takes off and becomes a regular feature.

    Psychiatrists get shunned here often, so, while noting the background to how the idea formed, it’s good nonetheless that this is being fronted by a would-be psychiatrist. It’s in all our interests to get behind substantial reform. And to do that means confronting a lot of controversy.

    Although, I hope the initiative doesn’t descend into a New Age melodrama and keeps its feet on the ground.

    Best of luck!

  • I live in the UK. Our police don’t have the mentality of a rapid response armed military unit.

    You want the freedom to carry guns just in case of civil war or a foreign invasion, so’s you can shoot missiles and armed drones down? Then, you have to take the consequences…

  • Thanks for the kindly words.

    There are so many problems with our mental health systems, it can be quite dispiriting thinking about it.

    In the UK the best chance many people have is to assert their NHS right to choose under the patient’s charter. That involves getting a GP on board and playing abacus with the keepers of the purse-strings, the Clinical Commissioning Group. And then having the staying power of Joseph K…

    Forced treatment is wrong in many cases, I agree. But there are times when certain individuals would never see the light of day unless it was implemented.

    Power imbalances in psychiatric health systems can be very frightening, I agree. Although, in many ways, that is their intended function. A lot of the processes are deliberately intended to bring about behavioral and attitudinal change through classic behavioral techniques. I have yet to meet a psychiatric survivor who has not tempered down their self as a consequence of being tortured or abused, or treated if you prefer. So, unfortunately, these brutal techniques do their work. I suppose those that don’t change, end up dead. Like McMurphy.

  • People have become unhealthily obsessed with the utility of nouns!

    Late Saturday night my old dog suffered a stroke. That’s the name the vet gave it early this morning. If you dig deeper, and are of a maddeningly pedantic bent, strictly speaking it wasn’t a stroke. It was a cerebrovascular accident arising from vestibular disease. Bit of a mouthful, uh… and what does that even mean to a non-veterinarian?

    So my poor old buddy suffered a stroke and when I say that, you know immediately what I am talking about, in very general terms. The word facilitates an instant understanding. Of sorts.

    Now not every stroke in a dog (or cerebrovascular accident arising from vestibular disease) manifests in exactly the same way, but there are some common factors and the prognosis varies too, depending on the underlying causes, the fitness of the dog prior to the event and so on and so forth etc.

    Steve, I’m not much invested in what-ifs when it comes to these real-life issues. It’s way too serious when you’re invested some way in life-threatening conditions such as borderline, there really isn’t time to take-five and expend time imagining how differemt things could be if there was a sociocultural revolution which supplanted psychiatry and replaced all its diagnostic nouns with pregnant pauses and knowing looks.

    In much the same way the vet chose a convenient shorthand. Was she wrong to do that? Would it have been better, if, when I asked her what was wrong with my dog, she squeezed my hand, and said, “Don’t ask me what is wrong with your dog. Ask me what happened to your dog?”

    When really I knew already what had happened to my dog. It was bloody clear what had happened to my dog. What I wanted to know was what was now in this moment and henceforth wrong with my dog and what could I do to help my dog get back on his feet? What could I do to increase the probablity that the crazy little bugger didn’t snuff it?

    I don’t mean to make light of these issues.

    What if I got entangled in a debate with the vet that dragged on for 20 years or more? Me endlessly insisting that there was no such thing as stroke, that it was too generalised, that it didn’t matter, that it was a completely unnecessary term and so on. And encouraged others to invest their energies into that? When those same energies could be more sensibly invested in self-learning and overcoming and personal betterment…

    What if every time I encountered a vet I took them to one side and insisted there was no such thing as a dog stroke. That stroke was a completely meaningless and pointless and deceptive term to apply to dogs? What if I pointed out that so few studies had been conducted on dogs that no-one had a freakin’ clue what a stroke actually was in a dog? And so on?

    I wouldn’t be wrong, but would I be wise?

    Would would be the point? I do all that and take a moment to check the hound and he’s dead and done for…

    The majority of people I encounter online and in real-life don’t have a hang-up about psychiatric nouns. Reading here you get a very different impression. It’s not representative of the bigger picture in that sense. But no-one is stopping people setting up their own countercultural subgroups in which they can choose their own preferred nouns, or none at all. They can do whatever they like.

    Besides, in Europe, in the UK, borderline is on the way out. It’s a dying noun. In it’s place we have emotionally unstable personality disorder. EUPD. A kind of dark unintended homage to brexit.

    To conclude, I respect your position. I don’t agree with it. But I can live with it. I hope the people that reject psychiatry find their peace and their personal meaning and reach a place of livable equanimity for themselves and the people around them. But I would also ask that these same people pull their hands away from their faces at times and come to terms with the fact that many people *are* helped by psychiatry. I know it’s hard, I’ve been there, I know…

    There are proven therapies like Linehan’s DBT and Fonagy and Bateman’s MBT and so on that have great potential in helping people, especially at the more severe end of sufferimg. I want to see a world where people get a medical diagnosis such as borderline and that then opens doors to substantive medical help. I believe that stands a greater chance of coming to fruition in the world we live in. You will disagree and so will others and I have no problem with that. I’m not interested in scoring intellectual points or proving I have the biggest balls in the text box (well, not all the time…)

    That’s me done.

  • @ Steve McCrea

    Thanks for eliminating my previous comments. However, a point I made in one of them is that the struggle for people with Borderline in particular to access therapy is a form of medical neglectfulness. So they are given a medical label and then that label perversely bars them from accessing appropriate medical help ie intensive and long-term psychotherapy.

    What therapies work for borderline personality disorder? I’m aware of three, which are structured, long-term and intensive. DBT, MBT and schema therapy, two of which make 24/7 crisis phone support available to the suffering person. As the two youtube women engaged in overcoming their difficulties I linked to underlined, you have to ultimately be engaged in wanting to get better. A therapist is really only a guide and someone to lean on.

    If you don’t think there is anything wrong with people with a peronality disorder, whether that be borderline, narcissistic or antisocial, then you are effectively denying their suffering and their pain, and the horrendous pain and turmoil they can bring into the lives of others.

    Calling these people self-centred is maybe an accurate generalism at turns, but is probably more dehumanising than validating their problems with a diagnosis.

    Yes, we are better off focusing on the behavior itself. I’m not sure how you would go about doing that if you also think there is nothing wrong with these people. The whole point of therapy is to address behaviour, and the underlying thinking processes, and helping someone’s social and moral compass develop in a way that brings more harmony rather than strife and endless conflict to their relationships.

  • My last two comments, while reasonable, weren’t what I really wanted to say. I was typing on eggshells.

    If you are concerned about damage to people, then the untreated personality disordered individual’s damage to others is by and large considerably greater than the damage of them being diagnosed with a label that points to their toxic problems.

    In fact, fighting against the diagnosis is one huge red herring in many ways.

    People are entitled to use a diagnosis towards someone that is, by all accounts, potentially very damaging. I think that ordinary people deserve to be both informed and, if possible, pre-warned. We are talking about people, especially at the severe end of the scale, who can seriously and lastingly damage an others’ emotional and physical wellbeing in ways you could just not anticipate or prepare for if you didn’t have a deep handle on what you were getting yourself involved in.

    As Rachel777 referred to, albeit complainingly, there are now victim-groups online just for people damaged by personality disordered individuals. I don’t believe that this is because these victim-groups all have dark senses of humour that some people struggle to understand. There are therapists that specialise in helping people recover from their personality disordered exes. Again, I don’t think these therapists are having a laugh at others’ expense.

    Again, down here on terra firma people are getting seriously fucked up and fucked over by untreated personality-disordered individuals, and the afteraffects are commonly indistinguishable from PTSD.

    Borderlines, in particular, are amongst the most challenging — and potentially life-threatening — individuals you will ever draw close to in your life, if you dare to become involved with them in anything other than a structured, time-limited, and escape-hatch-provided setting. They can very easily drive the uninitiated temporarily insane. Most therapists advise untreated borderlines to abstain from relationships. In fact, that is stellar advice.

    Yes, many of them were victims as children. No-one can change that, unfortnately. What can potentially be changed is the toxic and “crazy-making” patterns of interaction. A person with a personality disorder, now that they are an adult, with moral responsibilities, can be helped to grow into a reflective, conscionable, and functioing individual. That process can take many, many years.

    There is a great deal of variance betwen individuals that attract the diagnosis of borderline. But those 9 core symptoms are bang on. I think that psychiatry has this diagnosis right. I also think they have narcissitic personality disorder nailed. And antisocial personality disorder seems pretty airtight too. I don’t have enough knowledge or experience of the others to make comment.

    I would not recommend anyone getting into a close relationship with an untreated personality disordered person. You may come back at me and accuse me of this, that and the other. But I’m talking about real world, intimate involvement, in which you will be laying your soul bare. Not typing in text boxes. Or attending 2-hour workshops. Or conducting a 30 minute appointment. I’m talking about normal, unstructured, non-professionalised, non-economised, human relationships.

    It is a public health issue. For the individual with the untreated personality disorder and the people in their lives and who have contact with them. It is a serious public health issue that absolutely must be allocated the necessary resources. And yet it isn’t, and individuals and society are impacted terribly by this neglect.

  • (excuse me, I’m off on one…)

    Just to add, and I have her permission to share these things. My missus is diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder aka Borderline. She’s had a very positive impact on my life. She’s brought order, routine, and caused me to engage in a lot of self-reflection. She’s also brought, at turns, huge amounts of stress and chaos and worry and fear and conflict. More than I ever thought possible. Now, I chose this. And I choose to continue with this. I cam either perish or grow stronger. I choose to grow stronger. I choose to become more self-aware, less reactive, more in tune with my own emotions and feelings. Like I say, it could easily go the other way. I could be destroyed. I could be a victim. I could find it all overwhelming and bail out. Sometimes I imagine myself doing that.

    Standard knee-jerk response to the call – no, the righteous demand — that people like my belle should be given long-term substantive help is this: it costs too much money.

    That’s a lie.

    Truth is that all the ambulances, the A&E visits, the police involvement are big drains on resources. Far bigger than simply allocating appropriate resources. Now I’ve come to appreciate why we’re fortunate to live in the area we do. The police here are brilliant. They’ve applied their resources on many occasions to locate her and help her keep safe. There have been times when they have stayed with her, many times, until they are satisfied that she is safe. One time two officers remained with her for about 12 hours. 12 hours they stayed with her in the hosiptal until some other medical agency assured them she was now safe. That’s four officers taken off the beat for 12 hours (2 came to the end of their shift and 2 took over). They’ve allocated multiple officers and resources to locate her when she’s been suicidal. And when they’ve found her they’ve been kindly, firm yet kind. As some may appreciate, she can be quite fruity with her language when in crisis. But even still, not once have the police acted in a way that anyone could condemn. They’ve been outstanding.

    And over and over again the conversation happens. The police ask, quite rightly, where is the help? Why must our resources be used to manage crisis care? Where are the crisis teams, the clinical management teams? And they are right, aren’t they. In our topsy-turvey world, the paymasters are blinkered. If they can show a saving here, they ignore the additional, and probably much higher cost, elsewhere. It’s supposed to be joined up. There have been multiple initiatives to join things up. But it remains the case that those best equipped to help people in crisis, are the least resourced to do so.

    Of course, the police are the best resourced to locate someone in crisis and ensure their safety. But then they should be able to seamlessly hand someone over.

    But there are virtually no crisis resources. They are no pre-crisis services whatsoever. None. They’ve all gone. Now some of you antipsychiatrists would see that as a triumph. It is not a triumph. It’s a travesty.

    I iwsh I had the wherewithal to do something about this. I’ve known for a long time what needs to be done. I know who the major players are. The people with the power and the influence to do something. The way I see it, she and others like her, are experiencing systemic medical neglect. It’s gone on for so long now that it’s what people wind up expecting. And so the suicides go up. The tragedies become more frequent. The police and general medicine play a bigger and bigger role. And the paymasters boast about saving money. And as I say, that’s a crooked lie.

    Another example: a few days ago a motorway that runs through nearby here ground to a halt. It remained that way heading north for nearly 3 hours. This was at peak time. Why? A person in crisis was hanging over the bridge, threatening to jump. Now these days, such is the contempt that’s been steadily increasing in this society, people get out of their cars and goad them to “just do it” so they can carry on about their way. That’s the world we’re living in. But why are they there? Why have they chosen to hang over a motorway bridge and threaten to leap? Because there is no-where else to turn. Because pre-crisis and crisis responses have been almost entirely removed from our society. Desperate people are driven to take desperate measures. And the public, by and large, condemns them, despises them, for wasting everyones’ time and using up resources. What the general public don’t often understand is that the crisis resources have been depleted. That that person threatening to jump, and that’s disrupting all their lives, is likely the victim of systemic medical neglect.

    And it concerns me that some antipsychiatrists would consider their inability to access help, as a wonderful development.

    But how do the medical services get away with it? And I think we’re back to the contempt in society for victims of childhood abuse and neglect. There is even perhaps an unconscious societal death-wish underlying all this. In the UK, this contempt for disordered people, disabled people in general, is more apparent now than it ever was, with the systemic (and, probably by measure of our own laws, criminal) persecution and punishment of people with disabilities and problems of self, and our culture being unable to become much-concerned with it, content for people to perish, and so be gone, some of them taking their troubling stories and the disturbing psychological impacts of their experineces with them to the grave.

  • What I am saying is that this is the world we live in. Survivors of abuse are diagnosed and labeled. And that process, while fraught, has its uses (as a convenient shorthand) and abuses (its used as a pejorative put-down to create distance, or to condemn).

    I’m not being sarcastic about the youtubers I posted. I have learnt a lot from them and I admire their willingness to be honest about themselves, as well as their determination to overcome. Both of them have no problem at all with the label. Both of them have found some liberation with the label, and both have been fortunate to have the wherewithal to be able to develop self-awareness, and also be able to access the resources they need to grow and learn. I admire that they share their self-development with others and encourage others to believe that they can take back control of their lives, even though, honestly, they admit that the pain can nonetheless be overwhelming at turns, and that they will slip from time to time.

    Because people *can* overcome these patterns. Overcome, in the sense of, learn to be more self-aware. For a long time I was dismissive of mindfulness practices. I freely admit I was being overly cynical. Having looked much more deeply into the application of mindfulness in therapies for people diagnosed with personality disorder, I have come to appreciate its power and why it must be a central component.

    But here’s what happens in a nutshell, the world over. And this has been happening for a long, long time. People get labeled with personality disorder and it is primarily used as a perjorative term. In that sense, it is like a hate crime. I can remember when that insight first dawned on me, and I shared it on the internet, and a number of people sent me messages and thanked me for popping a bubble. I’m not meaning to suggest I was the originator of that insight. Maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t. I’m just menaing to make it clear that I had not encountered it elsewhere, and when I shared it a number of people felt validated by it.

    Moving on… what happens is people are victims of various forms of abuse and neglect in their formative years, and they enter adulthood ill-equipped. And their lives are fraught with pain, and they bring tremendous pain and chaos into the lives of other people too. And they seek help. And the world over that help is dominated by psychiatry. So, they get some kind of acknowledgement, some kind of validation. And that is through mental health systems. Which are either medical or pseudomedical, whichever analysis floats your boat. Either way, what happens next is by and large neglect. Systems are set up in such a way that the troubled and troubling individual, for the most part, cannot access the appropriate resources that would enable them to overcome their problems, or to put it in my preferred way, become the master of their own ship Which in the case of personality disorder, is long-term (intense) therapy. Now reams and reams have been written about this. And psychiatrists are, for the most part (in my view), just as frustrated as everyone else about the fact that resources are being denied. What comes to be called borderline personality disorder is a very serious condition. The rates of suicide and serious self-harm and interpersonal conflict are alarming. And again, whether you wish to frame that as a medical problem or a non-medical problem, the fact remains that these people need and deserve substantial help, and that help, while available (through various therapies, including DBT and MBT and schema and so on) is withheld. And as far as I’m concerned, that is a secondary abuse. The abuse of neglect.

    I agree in principle with the Drop the Disorder campaign. In which they make a strong case for abuse victims not to labeled. What I have also found is that a lot of victims of abuse, particularly the abuse of neglect, don’t consider themselves to be victims of abuse. But whenever I’ve been able to dig deeper with them, palpable, undeniable histories of childhood abuse/neglect is discovered.

    But is that the whole story? Some think not. I’ll quickly sketch out my understanding of why that is so. Whether you agree with me or not is another thing. But at least bear with me…

    I believe that we are not born as a tabula rasa. Babies have personalities. They are not all the same. Maybe personality is not the right word. Tendencies is better. We are all born with tendencies, which are very similar to personalities.

    Why do some people suffer appalling abuse and neglect and not end up with living highly chaotic and emotionally and behaviorally stormy lives, and others don’t?

    I believe, in very simple terms, that those tendencies we are all born with, and which are then affected by our environments, our experiences, includes being born with more or less emotional sensitivity. Some people are simply born way more emotionally sensitive than others. And so what happens next, everything that happens next, during their formative years, is going to be very impactful.

    When highly sensitive individuals are abused/neglected, it is deeply painful for them, in a very lasting way, and impactful in ways that others generally cannot get their heads around. And that determines the development of their personality. I don’t mean to imply that abuse/neglect impacts some and not others. I mean that people who are born with greater sensitivities than others, are going to be impacted even more deeply, are going to suffer even more pain and disarray.

    Sensitivity is not a disorder. In many ways it can be an asset. No, more than that, it should be celebrated as an asset. But the world we live in, by and large, does not celebrate emotionally sensitive children. In fact, in many ways, it seeks to undermine and punish them.

    I agree that it is important to ask: What happened to you? And trauma-informed approaches are vital. But what I keep encountering is a distortion of that approach, which is: “I am a victim. There is nothing wrong with me. I do not need to change. Other people should adapt to me. It is the world which is disordered. Not me.” And I don’t think that is really what the whole call for change is getting at.

    In a nutshell, I think that we need nouns. We need convenient short-hand. The term “personality disorder” offends some people, but the majority are relieved to finally get some recognition. The appalling consequence of being labeled, for most people most of the time, is that perversely the medical label acts more often than not to prevent them from accessing medical help (and in medical help I’m including various intensive psychotherapeutic relationships/approaches that have been shown to help). That to me is the major problem. Not that the label is wrong, or unsuited. But how it functions to basically deny someone help, and bring about medical/societal neglect. I have this idea that if the process of being labeled opened up the doors to substantive help then many people would feel less aggrieved. Because it would mean that to be labeled would signify doors to appropriate, intensive long-term help and support would swing open. And that, surely, would mean the process would be considered a positive one?

    That’s the sum of where I’m coming from.

  • just to add… someone here recommended magnesium for my partners sleep apnea and leg twitching causing her severe sleep disorder.

    she tells me she’s tried that. a few moons ago I talked to a swedish ex-gp with restless legs syndrome. I remember the poor man telling me there were no available treatments left that he hadn’t tried. so he faced a future of sleeplessness, a horrible suffering. although he had a wicked sense of humour,

    for equilibrium, having a good laugh works wonders.

  • Rachel777 wrote: “Frankly RR, I find your remark insulting and i bet others do as well.

    “He wouldn’t have called you an ugly, worthless moron if it didn’t apply to you.”

    Getting “loved ones” labeled BPD is popular with some truly evil people. The wife MAKES her husband beat her before MAKING her shrink “diagnose” her as irredeemably “toxic.”

    There are videos on Youtube popular with misogynists about EVIL women with Borderline Personality Disorder who should all kill themselves. Doesn’t sound like the wives are as evil as the normal husbands does it?”

    You get the full range on Youtube, no mistake.

    There are two youtubers diagnosed with borderline I really rate. One is in the UK and goes by the name Recovery Mum. Here’s a sample of her content:


    And the other I have a lot of time for, for her honesty, which can at times be very difficult, yet worthwhile, is based in Canada, and goes by the name The Borderline Life.


    I highly recommend both to anyone with Borderline who is seeking recovery-focused thinking and contemplation, honesty, insights, and maybe even some community.

  • oldhead wrote: “Once it is simply acknowledged that psychiatry is a branch of law enforcement, not medicine, these questions become less complex. If the regular police are not allowed to use chemical restraints neither should psychiatrists.”

    Yes, how much better it would be if psychiatrists were equipped with Tazers and guns…

  • Apologies for not replying sooner. I didn’t see this until now.

    “I often wonder about the recent exposure of the abuse of children by members of the clergy. Have they avoided the confessional knowing that to do so may result in punishment? Have they forgiven themselves and simply remained silent? Certainly not in some cases. These criminal acts were viewed as “character flaws” to be corrected. And then we find hundreds of victims and a system that failed to adequately deal with these character flaws. Forgiveness is not unlimited, and it should be a standard that all people are held to account on for some sins.”

    Priests are as obligated as any other Catholic to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation aka confession. Any mortal sin is considered reason enough, so yes, I expect lots of priests anonymously confessed to other priests, and that confession would be kept secret, as all others must be. And I expect some also didn’t confess and so kept it secret themselves. Probably others semi-confessed, not revealing that their sexual contact had been with a child. Point being that the Sacranent of Reconciliation is a confession to God, with the priest as witness, and then, also, acting as a spiritual guide, to advise and guide. I expect on many occasions a paedophile priest would unknowingly confess in the presence of another paedophile priest. The one giving the other spiritual guidance before God.

    But no-one avoids the confessional on fear of punishment. As it is protected, similar to how information shared with a doctor or lawyer is protected. Only moreso, in that the confession is anonymous and must not be shared with anyone.

    If you look at the history of the Catholic Church, which is entangled with the history of the aristocracy and upper classes, you’ll come to understand that for a long, long time, many, many centuries, children were abused routinely, they were chattel. In fact, one of the most disturbinbg books ever to be written, in the 18th C., by the Marquis de Sade, 120 Days of Sodom, the debauchery of the Catholic clergy and the aristocracy is made clear. It’s unnerving how things get put aside. In that book a lot of the sexual sadism, torture and then slaughter is against children. It was always a book that was well-known in literary circles. They even made a film version of it in the 1970s. Although in that they play down the paedophilia and play-up the coprophila. Even still, it’s not as if the rumours haven’t abounded for hundreds of years.

    So, really, there are 10s if not 100s of 1000s of victims over many centuries. And only in the past decade has the Catholic church seen fit to clean itself of this ingrained dirt.

  • Steve McCrea wrote: “Finally, the prisoner is assigned a term of punishment according to the crime they commit. Whereas a “mental patient” can be afforded a life sentence of enforced “treatment” that could very well kill them decades before their time, and they have NO right of protest.”

    I was with you until you wrote this. Because you make the assumption that if people were dealt with judiciously, they’d get a deeper justice.

    “As of last year, according to a report released today by the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 3,200 people were serving life in prison without parole for nonviolent crimes. A close examination of these cases by the ACLU reveals just how petty some of these offenses are. People got life for, among other things…

    Possessing a crack pipe
    Possessing a bottle cap containing a trace amount of heroin (too minute to be weighed)
    Having traces of cocaine in clothes pockets that were invisible to the naked eye but detected in lab tests
    Having a single crack rock at home
    Possessing 32 grams of marijuana (worth about $380 in California) with intent to distribute
    Passing out several grams of LSD at a Grateful Dead show
    Acting as a go-between in the sale of $10 worth of marijuana to an undercover cop
    Selling a single crack rock
    Verbally negotiating another man’s sale of two small pieces of fake crack to an undercover cop
    Having a stash of over-the-counter decongestant pills that could be used to make methamphetamine
    Attempting to cash a stolen check
    Possessing stolen scrap metal (the offender was a junk dealer)—10 valves and one elbow pipe
    Possessing stolen wrenches
    Siphoning gasoline from a truck
    Stealing tools from a shed and a welding machine from a front yard
    Shoplifting three belts from a department store
    Shoplifting several digital cameras
    Shoplifting two jerseys from an athletic store
    Taking a television, circular saw, and power converter from a vacant house
    Breaking into a closed liquor store in the middle of the night
    Making a drunken threat to a police officer while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car
    Being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm
    Taking an abusive stepfather’s gun from their shared home
    These are not typically first offenses, but nor are they isolated cases. The vast majority (83 percent) of life sentences examined by the ACLU were mandatory, meaning that the presiding judge had no choice but to sentence the defendant to a life behind bars. Mandatory sentences often result from repeat offender laws and draconian sentencing rules such as these federal standards for drug convictions:”

    The rest here: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/11/23-petty-crimes-prison-life-without-parole/

    I think it is naive to think that the mad would get a better deal in society if psychiatry stood aside (or was abolished)… because something will fill the gap. And the most likely outcome would be that madness would become increasingly criminalised, and the mad person subjected to equally bad if not worse “treatments”.

    To some degree this has been happening in the UK. Increasingly, mad people are being subjected to all manner of acceptable behaviour contracts that basically seek to curtail their odd or eccentric behaviours, which would not usually be considered criminal, but which can be escalated to a crime.

    One example is a young man with aspergers in the Norfolk area who has an obsession with following and filming the police with his camera. They dragged him through the courts and banned his behaviour and banned him going to all manner of places near his home. In case he took his camera out and filmed the police. Eventually he did a short stint in prison. He was helped to appeal. And all the behaviour orders were dropped. But of course, at great personal cost.

  • My partner insisted I added this:

    Most herbs are very easy to grow at home, from seed, which are incredibly cheap. A window-sill. A backyard. You only need a little bit of space. Fresh herbs are also superior to shop-bought, for obvious reasons. Additionally, highly nutritious meals can be cooked from scratch for mere pennies.


    Here are many meals for less than 50p each. (although you have to factor in the cost of cooking fuel and wotnot).

    Her straightforward hypothesis is that people are child-like and lazy when it comes to preparing and cooking meals. I had to cough over the fact that she was including me in that observation.

    Additionally, there is foraging for edibles. This can be done in both urban and non-urban settings. It is quite amazing how many highly nutritious plants can be foraged for free within a short distance of one’s home. You just have to learn what to look for.

    People usually say: but I have no TIME!

    Translated that means: I have an addiction to the TV and/or computer, and they are sucking the life out of my days, leaving me with no option but to get fat eating crap.

  • Alternatively, the actual reason someone is determined as a person with a personality disorder is because they meet the criteria for that personality disorder.

    The majority of people that meet the criteria for personality disorder never actually get given the diagnosis of personality disorder. They simply go through life with a permanent dust-cloud of chaos behind them which they simply refuse to either look at or deny any involvement in stirring up.

    “If you don’t take any guff from your shrink, you have a personality disorder. If you aren’t compliant with your alleged treatment, you have a personality disorder. If the shrink doesn’t like you, you have a personality disorder. If you don’t “improve” after your alleged treatment, you have a personality disorder. It doesn’t take an Einstein to grasp the essential nature of personality disorders.”

    I’ve done all those things at turns and yet still do not have a diagnosis of personality disorder. In fact, casting the net wider, I’ve known many people do those things and they weren’t given a diagnosis of personality disorder.

    I think what tends to happen is that some people seek the attention of psychiatry, and are found to meet the criteria for a personality disorder, and then throw a wobbly about it.

    Don’t shoot the messenger?

  • vanilla wrote: “Instead of griping about “people abusing power” perhaps we need to find effective ways of dealing with this phenomenon, since it seems pretty impossible to avoid it? Sure, we can clamp down hard on abusers – who’s going to do that? Other people in power! So who decides what’s abuse and what isn’t? People in power!”

    That’s about the sum of it.

    “The United Nations Convention against Corruption is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. The Convention’s far-reaching approach and the mandatory character of many of its provisions make it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to a global problem.”

    from here: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/

    Applying those insights and initiatives to mental healthcare practice is going to be problematic. As this discussion has established, it’s only a minority of people that consider their interactions with psychiatry and/or the mental health system to be corrupt. And of those people, an even smaller number end up self-identifying as anti-psychiatry.

    But it might be a good place to start for people seeking some kind of metric.

  • I am struggling to think of a power that is never abused. I don’t mean to say that the struggle against abuse of power is a pointless one. It isn’t. It’s essential. Yet neverending.

    I know what it means too to be at the receiving end of the abuse of power. In the heat of it come overwhelming fantasies of revenge. In other words, the victim of abuse of power dreams of turning the tables and abusing their power against the emasculated tormentor.

    It’s important to ride that wave and reach calmer waters. Is my take on things.

    The vast majority of people do not frame their psychiatric experiences as abuse of power, once the calm waters have been reached. I know that some do. And I know that many of those frequent here.

    Why they are unable to organise themselves I began to understand and appreciate after closely reading Judi Chamberlin.

  • Thanks for the theoretical considerations, Steve, but back down here on terra firma things do not easily fit into these venn diagrams. There are people in this world whose moral conscience is so impaired it wouldn’t be amiss to describe it as comatose. Should a person with a comatosed moral conscience be afforded equal standing to everyone else?

    If these people are then treated — and it is treatment, even if you don’t like it, treatment is what it is — against their will, then, you have to have the courage to look at it all head on, and then be honest. Because some of these people will have been engaged in rather vile and demeaning behaviours against other people for quite some time. And there will be many victims they’ll have left in their wake.

    And you’re either going to be making excuses for them, and playing at being compassionate, or you are going to be mindful of what compassion really is, or should be, and it isn’t about or shouldn’t be about mollycoddling or “being with” someone whose only true motivation will be to get from you what they can and then toss you into the trash with all the other do-gooders.

    There are exceptions to the rule. And selective memory will favour them. That’s how the cookie crumbles.

    Why do you have a problem with managing social problems? Do you think that serial toxic abusers, who just skim under the threshold of the law, should be protected?

    “Again, a police function exists in essentially all societies, but it should never be confused with a helping agreement between client and professional.”

    I’m talking about people that are not just in denial, and not seeking help. When the shit’s hit the fan (again) they seek help, with renewed vigour. But it only very rarely comes to anything. In fact, with people that have the most pressing needs, benzos and antipsychotics and so on function as the best treatments this society has so far mustered. If this wasn’t the case we’d see the emergence of amazing, transformative treatments. And not just for a tiny showcased few, it’d be hundreds of thousands of toxic ne-er-do-wells flocking to their baptism of awakened conscience.

  • Some people need to be restrained. Toxic abusers, for instance. People that believe that because they had a painful childhood they have a right to destroy other peoples’ equanimity. Including that of children.

    There are some very toxic, abusive and out-and-out antisocial people that become psychiatric patients. Often, drugging these people into submission is the best and most humane approach. Because, left to their own devices and without any formalised social response to their “sickness”, they will go on to manufacture toxicity and bring more dysfunctional people like themselves into the world.b

    You can idealise all you like, but how long would you put up with a toxic abuser in your life? How long until the talk of compassion fails, and you demand that something is done? Or you are showing them the door?

    Psychiatry welcomes them. It offers them a life in which they can limit or remove their toxic abuse of other people. In some cases, this includes robbing them of their sexual function. Again, some people are best off being robbed of their sexual function. For instance, paedophiles.

    Reading here you can get the impression that abuse and abusers only ever occurs in one direction. That the good guys and the bad guys are clealy separated. It’s just plain silly talk.

    If toxic abusers were not an ongoing problem, there would be a much-reduced psychiatric system, and the DSM would never have devoted so much space to delineating the various forms of toxic characterological traits.

    For some people a victim-role can be very attractive. This is especially so for toxic abusers. It’s a great way to bury their misdeeds and their toxicity and project all their nefariousness onto psychiatry.

    Naturally I understand how in the text box anyone can portray themselves as a misunderstood angel. But it doesn’t take too much effort to read between the lines and work out what’s what.